A letter from the National Education Union (NEU) urging Education Secretary Damian Hinds to end the school funding crisis has been signed by 1,115 local councillors in England, including many councillors in Tower Hamlets.
The letter was handed in to the Government’s Department for Education on Tuesday 2 April.
Locally-elected council members from across the country have backed the campaign by the NEU’s Councillors Network, which is supported by education fair funding campaign group f40, in expressing concern about the desperate state of school funding in England and Wales.
They are urging Government to invest more money in schools in the Spending Review this year to help meet the huge funding crisis across education, which is resulting in growing budget deficits, cuts in teaching staff, a reduction in some subject areas, and a poorer education for children.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies states that schools have suffered a cut of 8 per cent per pupil since 2010. The Education Policy Institute has said almost a third of all council-run secondary schools are now in deficit and, according to last year’s Kreston UK report, eight in ten academies are in deficit.
Analysis by the NEU has shown that school in Tower Hamlets have lost out on over £56m funding between 2015 and 2019. That’s the equivalent of £626 per pupil. These figures are based on the difference between current funding and the amount needed to protect per pupil funding in real terms.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “The threat facing schools is stark, with billions of pounds in funding lost since 2015, and schools in Tower Hamlets are suffering.
“We’ve called on the Government to reverse the school cuts, give our schools the funding they need and properly fund provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Our schools have improved dramatically over the last twenty years and now this is all at risk if the Government continues down this path.”
Cllr Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Young People, said: “This situation cannot go on. Schools and colleges in Tower Hamlets desperately need additional funding to ensure our children and young people get the education they deserve. There needs to be a reversal of cuts to school budgets and for the funding of schools and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision to be of a level that ensures all children and young people get the education they deserve, regardless of where they live.”
Letter from NEU Councillors Network reads:
Dear Damian Hinds MP,
As councillors, we are writing to express our grave concerns over the Government’s ongoing cuts to school funding.
Our excellent state-funded schools have lost out in billions of pounds in funding since 2015. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has equated this to an 8 per cent real cut per pupil in real terms, since 2010. The funding crisis has become so overwhelming that according to the Education Policy Institute, almost a third of all council-run secondary schools are now in deficit, and eight in ten academies are in deficit according to last year’s Kreston UK report.
Many schools are now desperately overwhelmed, as more and more students are competing for fewer and fewer resources. Compounded by biting cuts to local council services, in addition to the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, the current settlement is not tenable.
We demand that the Government address this funding crisis in its Spending Review by:
- Reversing the cuts to school funding since 2010.
- Giving our schools the funding they need.
- Funding Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision properly.
Our children only have one chance to go through the school system. By cutting funding to schools, the Government is failing them. It must change course urgently, and give our schools, education professionals and students the proper funding they need.